xxGet them early

The education secretary states that assessment of literacy and numeracy within the new curriculum will be by units embedded in the S4 assessments for English and Maths. While standardised assessments are welcome to most, the lateness of those will dismay many. The issue of 13,000 pupils annually leaving primary school unable to read will remain and the Scottish people might expect a more positive strategy for dealing with this long-standing problem. Without this, pupils' secondary chances wi

Regarding subject areas, the new curriculum seems indifferent to assessing knowledge, emphasising problem-solving and the higher discursive skills of analysis, evaluation, creativity and so forth. But both those latter skill areas rely heavily on understanding and, although knowledge forms the base of the cognitive pyramid, it both informs and complements understanding. It might therefore not be prudent to devalue the importance of knowledge.

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(DR) WALTER J MacCULLOCH

Aberchirder

Huntly, Aberdeenshire